‘Silent’ DNA Speaks Up

May 22, 2001

Biologists have broken through what was considered an impermeable barrier that kept half the genes in some cells “silent.” By moderately raising the temperature of cells, heated genes reached 500 times their normal rate of expression, which could lead to better understanding of cellular processes involved in aging, fever and toxicity.

Mimicking Nature

May 22, 2001

A computer program that mimics the barn owl’s sonic processing in locating prey has been developed by John Harris, a University of Florida engineering professor. Uses include tracking of speaker location for videoconferencing.

Sounds Of The Universe

May 22, 2001

Extraterrestrial acoustics and a “smart violin” attempt to clone the Stradivarius will be among the topics presented at the annual Acoustical Society of America conference, June 4-8, Palmer House Hilton Hotel, Chicago, Illinois.

Nanotech Looms Large for Meds

May 22, 2001

Nanotech-based cancer therapy, bioweapons countermeasures, and bactericides were among the developments presented at yesterday’s International Biotech and Infotech Summit in San Francisco.

Cheese beats crackers

May 22, 2001

A benevolent “cheese worm” is currently circulating the Net, fixing computers running Linux that have been attacked earlier by another worm (self-propagating virus).

The Lion worm has been infecting Linux servers, installing backdoors and stealing passwords.

Little Big Screen

May 21, 2001

Coming PDA user-interface enhancements include pocket-sized foldable screens, fabric keyboards, retinal displays, and voice recognition/navigation.

See also: A Chip Fights Blindness

Link Between Human Genes and Bacteria Is Hotly Debated

May 21, 2001

Celera Genenomics is challenging the Consortium’s Feb. report that 223 of the 30,000 human genes appear to have been acquired directly from bacteria instead of inheritance.

Building Chips, One Molecule at a Time

May 21, 2001

Hewlett-Packard is researching molecular computers, using rotaxanes.

UCLA professor James Heath and his team have succeeded in attaching their minuscule switches to tiny wires and have developed a redundant wiring technique that routes signals around imperfect molecular switches.

Heath thinks he might be able to build a rudimentary computer within a couple of years.

The living dead

May 18, 2001

A cybernetic definition of “life” has been proposed by Bernard Korzeniewski of the Institute of Molecular Biology at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland: “A network of inferior negative feedbacks subordinated to a superior positive feedback.”

In other words, life is a system that tries to regulate itself to preserve its identity. Uner this definition, ants, prions, and infertile humans are not alive, but parasitic DNA is, he says.

Death Of The Web Is Inevitable

May 18, 2001

The X (executable) Internet and an extended Net that connects to the real world will eclipse the Web, says Forrester Research.

“Executable applications will give users tools to experience the Net in more entertaining and engaging ways,” said Carl D. Howe, research director and principal analyst at Forrester. “For example, imagine a corporate buyer navigating a virtual marketplace with a Doom-like user interface — buyers could simply… read more

Psychology of virtual identities

May 18, 2001

Dr. Neil Theise explores virtual identities and AI with Ray Kurzweil on Psychology Today Live, eYada.com talk radio.

Nanotechnology: Manufacturing as Extended Chemistry

May 17, 2001

Nanotech pioneer Ralph C. Merkle, PhD will speak at
a meeting of the Silicon Valley Section of the American Chemical Society, May 24, 2001 at the Biltmore Hotel, Santa Clara. Open to non-ACS members.

Project JXTA

May 16, 2001

Sun’s new Project JXTA, using P2P networking, could benefit the AI community by combining the processing power of thousands of networked personal computers to create worldwide virtual supercomputers.

Headed by Bill Joy, Project JXTA (juxtapose) encourages “open source” development, with executable and source code for the initial implementation available in Java and C.

Building a Better Backbone

May 16, 2001

Surging Internet growth is straining the capacity of the Internet backbone. New developments to increase bandwidth include Raman amplification (allows a signal to be amplified without introducing noise), polarized light, and “photonic-band-gap crystals” to eliminate interference between wavelengths.

Current research could enable holographic 3-D videoconferences, long-distance surgery, and instantaneous access to books stored at any library in the world.

Hyperion: Sun-Thirsty Space Robot

May 16, 2001

The sunlight-seeking Hyperion robot is about to be tested on Devon Island, near the Arctic Circle, mimicing a planetary landscape.

Developed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute in collaboration with the NASA Haughton-Mars Project, Hyperion is designed to dodge shadows, seek sunlight and drive itself along sun-synchronous routes, while carrying out exploration duties on Mars.

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